Folk­lore and super­sti­tion pre­vail in the kitchen on New Year’s Day.

What we eat on day one may well set the course for all the days to fol­low in 2019. Many cul­tures look to foods that are round or shaped like a ring will bring things full cir­cle. This sig­ni­fies good luck.

For­ward move­ment, good health and pros­per­ity are all wel­comed as we cel­e­brate the com­ing days ahead.

In Hol­land, by exam­ple, a round frit­ter made of raisins and apples is a New Year’s Day favorite. The tra­di­tional Dutch treat may, in fact, be the orig­i­nal donut. What a way to start to the New Year!

Some fam­i­lies choose to assem­ble twelve round fruits, one for each month, to usher in the new year. Gather up oranges, grape­fruit, quince, pome­gran­ate, grapes, per­sim­mons, figs and apples for this fresh offer­ing. The healthy mon­tage will only lead to wise per­sonal choices for good eat­ing in the com­ing year. That is a cus­tom worth get­ting used to.

Read more: Full Circle →

Clos­ing out the year gives way to per­sonal and pro­fes­sional reflec­tion.

As an indus­try, 2018 pre­sented many dif­fi­cult chal­lenges to hur­dle for every sup­ply chain stake­holder.

Grow­ers, ship­pers, proces­sors, sup­pli­ers, retail­ers and food­ser­vice estab­lish­ments all shared in the endeavor to deliver fresh pro­duce.

Demand­ing everyone’s atten­tion through­out the year were var­i­ous prod­uct recalls, warn­ings and alerts. Recent romaine ill­nesses are still top of mind. Fifty nine indi­vid­u­als, in fif­teen states, were affected in the last out­break.

These all too fre­quent out­breaks unfor­tu­nately adversely impact the health of any num­ber of fresh pro­duce con­sumers. For the rest of the mar­ket­place, it casts a dark shadow on eat­ing any leafy greens or veg­eta­bles.

Pro­mot­ing increased con­sump­tion of fresh pro­duce is an already tall task. Rebuild­ing erod­ing con­sumer con­fi­dence in the after­math of these peri­odic out­breaks puts addi­tional stress on most indus­try professionals.

Read more: The Last Sip →

Gin­ger­bread and hol­i­day spices are warm­ing from the inside out. Take com­fort and joy to the next level by includ­ing pears in those fes­tive prepa­ra­tions.

Maybe the best part of pears this time of year is their acci­den­tal orna­men­tal nature. The sen­su­ous shapes and var­i­ous sizes and skin col­ors sug­gest end­less culi­nary pos­si­bil­i­ties. They pro­vide a fresh fruit com­po­nent in baked goods, sal­ads and entrees, while all at once insert high drama and art on the plate.

Pears are very ver­sa­tile. In addi­tion to being served raw in almost any­thing, pears bake, poach, sauté, roast and grill very nicely. They can be made into pre­serves, jams and chut­neys which can be a sea­sonal boost to pan­cakes, waf­fles and toast.

Whole, sliced, chopped or chun­ked, pears offer great fla­vor in addi­tion to tex­ture and visual inter­est to many recipes.

Firmer vari­eties like Bosc, Anjou, or Con­corde are best for heated appli­ca­tions— poach­ing, bak­ing and grilling. Because their flesh is denser, they hold their shape bet­ter. Their inher­ent fla­vor is not over­pow­ered by other cook­ing ingredients.

Read more: Peace, Love & Pears →

As the eight days of Hanukkah fin­ish, we are gen­tly reminded of those lovely fried gems that are cus­tom­ar­ily eaten dur­ing the course of the Fes­ti­val of Lights.

Tra­di­tion serves up golden brown latkes. One does not have to be Jew­ish to appre­ci­ate this espe­cially del­i­cate good bite. Nor do we need to con­fine our latke indul­gence to the few short days of the hol­i­day sea­son.

Latkes (potato pan­cakes) are tra­di­tion­ally topped with apple­sauce or sour cream. There are many new cre­ative vari­a­tions to these cakes and top­pings.

The crisp, golden clas­sic is made of shred­ded rus­set pota­toes and grated fresh onions. Yukon gold or sweet pota­toes put a softer spin on the clas­sic.

Other root veg­eta­bles like car­rots, turnips and parsnips sur­prise the pal­let in a new cake direc­tion. Include zuc­chini, cau­li­flower, apples, green onions and fresh herbs to amp up flavors.

Read more: Patty Cakes →

Good news for fruit lovers after the Thanks­giv­ing feast. Apples and cit­rus fruits begin to dom­i­nate pro­duce stands and farmer’s mar­kets.

No need for unwar­ranted com­par­isons. Both fruit fam­i­lies con­tribute to bev­er­ages, snacks or meals this time of year.

Ver­sa­tile and dis­tinc­tive, each cat­e­gory seems to have end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties as new vari­eties become avail­able through­out the sea­son.

Ambrosia, Hon­ey­crisp, Opal or Sweet Tango apples remind us that there is a favored choice for every taste pro­file. Sweet and crisp, choose the one that fits out of hand or bak­ing needs.

Tiny Lady apples and other minia­ture vari­eties range from bril­liant red to golden yel­low with red blush. They run from sweet to tart in taste and are good for hand-​eating or cook­ing. They make for par­tic­u­larly good gar­nishes and fresh décor ingre­di­ents dur­ing win­ter months and upcom­ing hol­i­day celebrations.

Read more: Apples & Oranges →